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[TOKYO] Japan's industrial output rose 0.1 per cent in October from the previous month and manufacturers say production likely bounced sharply this month, preliminary government data showed on Wednesday, in a sign of a tentative pickup in factory activity.
The result compared with the median forecast of a 0.1 per cent fall in a Reuters poll of economists, and followed a 0.6 per cent increase in September.
Manufacturers surveyed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry expect output to rise 4.5 per cent in November and decrease 0.6 per cent in December.
Recovery in factory output is a welcome sign for policymakers, who have struggled to generate virtuous cycle of growth in consumption and production to lift an economy mired in nearly two decades of deflation and stagnation.
The ministry maintained its assessment on industrial output, saying a gradual pick-up can be seen in production.
Japan's economy expanded for a third straight quarter in July-September as exports recovered, but domestic activity remained weak, highlighting the potential fragility in the export-reliant country's recovery.
Separate data showed on Tuesday that Japan's unemployment rate held steady in October as the availability of jobs improved and household spending fell at a slower pace, hinting that a robust labour market is lending some support to domestic demand.